Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Creating a home studio for recording the classical guitar. Equipment, software and recording techniques. Amplification for live performance.
Kris

Re: Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Post by Kris » Wed Dec 02, 2009 2:04 pm

quixilver, I think that would depend on which mics you currently have. In general I would say that the preamps in the FW410 would be of far less importance than which mics you use and especially mic placement and room acoustics. People give the interface and preamps too much credit, or blame, IMO. I don't know the FW410, but IIRC they have the Octane preamps, and I'd be surprised if an upgrade would make all that much of a difference. Sure, there will be a difference, but so will moving the mics 2 inches to the right :)

Hybrid

Re: Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Post by Hybrid » Wed Dec 02, 2009 4:57 pm

My wife has a Firewire 410, which she uses to do demos, mainly using it for voice and acoustic guitar.

Compared to the RNP, its definately dark, and smeared sounding. Is it night and day difference? No.

But the RNP would make a difference. However, i agree with Kris on the mics. If the mics are'nt very good, and
your room isnt treated, its probably not worth the upgrade.

I believe in getting the most out of whatever your current setup is, and exhausting all recording scenarios until you
grow out of the gear. That's when its time step up a component or two. Also, do as much critical listening as you
do recording, preferably on some decent studio monitors, or at least some good headphones. I like the Beyerdynamic DT 770's

H

Kris

Re: Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Post by Kris » Wed Dec 02, 2009 5:11 pm

Hybrid wrote:I believe in getting the most out of whatever your current setup is, and exhausting all recording scenarios until you grow out of the gear.
Exactly! I've heard the same from numerous highly regarded engineers. I'm pretty sure if you handed the FW410 to say Micheal Bishop of Telarc, you and I would both be amazed at the recordings. He'd still prefer his Upstate Audio custom mic preamps, though :)

quixilver
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Re: Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Post by quixilver » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:48 am

Thanks Kris and Hybrid for the answers, I think I got what you're trying to say that the whole system (interface, preamp, mic + positioning, room, etc...) should be the point of attention rather than just a quick bite on a single part of them.
I made some samples using Rode NT2 large diaphragm but somehow the sound image is too thin (if you get what I mean) even after I've plugged it into Presonus TubePre and tried various mic placement, then I'm thinking of getting a new mic(s) or upgrading the FW410 instead.
Not sure which one will help me better, but the options for the mic(s) I have listed down and fit into budget are CAD m179, CAD e100s, a pair of Rode NT5 or CAD e70. The other things I'm considering are the Audio Technica AT2020 USB and ApogeeONE (heard a lot of nice reviews for both of them) for their simplicity.

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singularity
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Location: USA

Re: Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Post by singularity » Thu Dec 03, 2009 2:50 pm

quixilver wrote:...I made some samples using Rode NT2 large diaphragm but somehow the sound image is too thin ....
Hi quicksilver. I used to own Røde NT2 and the way how I would describe it would be anything BUT thin sounding. I suspect that the reason why you have "thin" sound is your microphone placement. Try following 2 extremes: place the mic close to the lower, treble side of the guitar behind the bridge. This will sound very thin. Now, move the mic (or the guitar) so that mic is on the bass side above and close to the sound hole. This will sound boomy. For untreated room the sweet spot is somewhere between those two points, not more than 3 feet away. This way you can capture "virgin" sound without lots of bad reflections and cancelations as it's demonstrated by Hybrid in his video. However, you'll notice that you have more string and nail noise too, but as they said before do the best with what you have.

s

LPLIV

Re: Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Post by LPLIV » Sat Dec 19, 2009 12:49 am

Hybrid et al:
I have found this thread really interesting as I am about to try to record my playing in a few months when time allows. Several years ago I tried to record thru my computer and was unhappy with the quality for several reasons. My PC is a home built Intel MB and 2.8g cpu that runs really hot and therefore requires a lot of fans to keep it cool. (Not a big gamer, more for works and graphics stuff....) I have an older Audigy sound card that didn't really work well and when I bought a $50.00 preamp I could never get it to work correctly so I took it back. At that point I decided to buy a digital recorder but work and family took up a lot of my time so I was never able to really record anything to my satisfaction. I now have the time and here is a list of what equipment I have and how I plan to record with it:
Tascam DP01FX
MXL990/991 Condenser mic set - 1 cigar and 1 omni directional
Mackie 402-VLZ Preamp
Adobe Audition editing software
XLR cables etc....
I plan on recording several different ways with the three guitars that I currently own:
Loriente Sofia - Thru the mics/Mackie/DP01 and then edit with the Adobe
Antonio Aparacio AA110 - Thru the LR Baggs pick up/Mackie/DP01 and on to editing
Godin Kingpin II Jazz Box - thru the pick up/Macki/DP01 and then who knows what...
I will be recording in an open den with carpet and furniture, textured sheet rock walls what appears to me to be very little to bounce off of... One wall has three large windowless openings into the living room. I also have a rodunda entrance way that has a great echo much like that of the old churches, would this be ok to record in????

I would appreciate anyone's knowledgeable input.... did I waste my $'s on the Mackie, the sales guy at GC said that it would soften the harder digital recording of the DP01 and add some clear boost the the phantom power amp that the DP01 seemed to be missing... I know that my mics are pretty inexpensive but will they do a fairly good job until I decide whether it is worth the $'s to upgrade.

Thanks to all for your input..

Phil

Hybrid

Re: Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Post by Hybrid » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:09 am

Sounds like you have a pretty darn good room, so thats a plus.

The salesman was misleading you slightly. The Mackie preamps are a bit smeared and dark, so he's not exactly wrong about curing some digital "coldness" or "harshness"
but its the way in which the Mackie is doing it. You could put a blanket over your mic, and that would darken the sound too. :) But you're gonna miss alot of things
you DO want in the sound when you do that.

I think your setup sounds very decent. However, it is fairly outdated. Dont get me wrong here, im not meaning to insult you or your setup. You could get
some very good results with it.

However, you could probably get a much higher fidelity sound from something like the Sony D-50 handheld recorder. The analog to digital converters in the Sony are
most likely far superior to the Tascam. The resolution is certainly more than double the Tascam as well. 24 bit/ 96khz. I have a friend who owns the Sony and it sounds AMAZING.

The Sony would also simplify your whole process and would be a huge downsizing. No more cables, mixers, multiple mic stands, etc etc... Just the D-50 on a single mic stand, and you're ready to go. When you're done, you fly it into your computer.

If you're e - b a y savy, you could get just enough cash for your gear to get hold of the Sony. I would hold on to your Marshall mics though. But the Tascam, and the Mackie, are easily replaced and then some, by the Sony.

I have been recording for a long time via outboard preamps, soundcards, condensor mics, etc...

But i have to admit, after hearing the Sony, im starting to think about changing the way i record classical guitar.

H

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LarryATahoe
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Re: Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Post by LarryATahoe » Sat Dec 19, 2009 3:56 am

I am about ready to buy a Sony PCM-D50, but I find there is something wrong or lacking in ALL the portables, including the Sony. For one thing, I'd like to have a recorder that can do time code to easily and properly align with video. The Sony PCM-D50 doesn't do that. I'd also like the option to run external condenser mics with XLR inputs and maybe an external preamp. Apparently the Sony can do that, but it's more of a pain.
The Fireface 800 has some kind of plug-in that facilitates time code, but it costs an extra $500. Also, the Fireface is not easily portable like the Sony for quick live recording, youtube videos etc. where the absolute best recording is not quite as critical. Does anyone have any other suggestions before I give up and buy the Sony? I'm afraid they'll come out with something next year that is high quality, has all the features I want, and costs the same.

LPLIV

Re: Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Post by LPLIV » Sat Dec 19, 2009 5:59 am

Hybrid:

Thanks for the input, don't worry, it isn't taken personally, I really respect your knowledge and experience.. I'll probably get rid of the Tascam next year, it is such a pain to use... practically need a software engineering degree to interepret the directions. It's been in the shop and had to be repaired after only minimal use so it's isn't my favorite piece of equipment. Maybe by mid 2010 the Sony will be even less expensive on my favorite world wide marketing company... I saw one for $435.00 the only downside is the fact that it doesn't have xlr connector..

BTW: congrats on the change of right hand methods, really impressive.. Angela is really sounding great, I really love that mp/sp sound..

Thanks again..

Phil

Kris

Re: Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Post by Kris » Sat Dec 19, 2009 2:01 pm

Larry, how about the Marantz PMD661? From what I've seen around the web, people are really liking it. Don't know about the time code option though.

Phil, you have everything you need to make great recordings. I'm sure you'd agree with me that a great guitarist can make a inexpensive guitars sound wonderful, and a bad guitarist can make a Dammann sound like crap. Well, it's the same with recording gear. There is nothing really wrong with what you have, so learn to record well instead of spending more money on the gear.

But I understand that you don't like the Tascam and that it is being repaired. Have a look at the Marantz I mentioned above, or maybe something like the Fostex FR-2LE, and the Sony if you are willing to stick with built-in mics (it is possible to use external capacitor mics but it gets complicated).

Guero
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Re: Wonderful Mic preamp on a budget

Post by Guero » Fri Nov 09, 2018 10:27 am

When I want to do XY-, AB- ORTF- or MS miking I need two preamps, one for each mic, right?!
I just wonder why I can hardly find any "budget" preamps with 2 inputs. And one for each mic seems to be a lot of gear and cable chaos..

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